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VIDEO: 1987 Interview With Wall Street Psychiatrist Shows How Little Things Have Changed

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GOOD OLD DAYS?
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"Because the Wall Street people involved recently in insider trading and other unethical and illegal schemes to make bigger and bigger bucks, were themselves such heavy, heavy hitters, making so much money anyway, the real question before American society now seems to be: for crying out loud, how much money is enough? At what point can the rich, the richer, even the richest, draw the line and say, 'We’ve got enough, we’re not going further – certainly not beyond morality and the law – to get more than most?"

This is how Richard Heffner, host of The Open Mind on PBS, opened his show on June 14, 1987.

He continued:

And the answer seems to be that for too many people there is no such point, because, as a recent New York Times Op-Ed piece noted: “What most of us overlook is that fact that some people actually get high and hooked on money in the same way that others become addicted to alcohol and cocaine and other drugs. And ‘injection’ of money can make people feel instantly secure, victorious, strong, loved, proud and sexually attractive. Money becomes the antidote to a perceived sense of insufficiency.

Heffner then turned to his guest for a thirty-minute examination of "money junkies" and the associated psychology, social dynamics, and other aspects of a phenomenon that, while all-too-common today, was just starting to become widespread enough 24 years ago to warrant serious study.

That guest was my Dad. The hairstyles may have changed slightly, but Wall Street, 2011 doesn't look a whole hell of a lot different than Wall Street, 1987.

For one, the same dangers within banks were pointed out in virtually identical language:

Wall Street tradition has been to train somebody and then set him loose and allow him to make as much money as he possibly can. A lot of these people were and traditionally have been unsupervised, and I think that’s been part of the culture of the Wall Street firms, as opposed to banking institutions where everything is quite rigidly controlled and managed. So people have been operating in their sphere, absolutely independent of organizational control and a lot of these things have gotten out of hand as a result.

And the same predictions were made, regarding more stringent oversight, that the hopeful still call for today:

So I think there will be an imposition of greater management structure on the activities of the people who are working there.

Check out the following for a serious sense of deja vu:

Watch the full episode. See more The Open Mind.

POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.

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